Thursday, September 11, 2014

Children, Legacies, and Triumph Over Tragedy

September 11, 2014

I recently watched the movie “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” (released in the fall of 2011, ten years after the events of 9/11). The story centers on a young boy who loses his father in one of the Twin Towers that tragic day. And while the film is very powerful and emotional, it does illustrate how a father helped his son to communicate with the world, to see the world beyond his fears. The film is ultimately a message of hope beyond tragedy, beyond fear, and beyond loneliness.

Even so, the very thought of children who have been affected by tragedy is often too much to bear. And I can’t imagine how just as (if not more) difficult it is for a child who loses a loved one they have never met or will never get to know personally.

Loved ones, whether family or friends or mentors, inspire us to be more than we think we can be, to reach out and to strive farther than we think we can.

On September 12 of 2011, People Magazine released an article on children who were born to widows who lost their husbands on 9/11. Fathers these children never got to know personally. Fathers they never got to meet. Yet, they and their mothers (through various and continued processes of healing) have become examples of hope and triumph in the face of such aforementioned adversities.

“They were just newborns, and yet they brought comfort to their widowed mothers and became symbols of hope for a nation reeling over the tragedy of [that day]. Now . . . the milestones of their young lives . . . have served as proof that life carries on even in the face of unthinkable loss.”

Lives that carry the spirit and legacy and honor of their fathers, and therefore their families.

As an educator, I believe in the responsibility for us as a generation to be an example of hope and opportunity and accountability and love for this generation of children. 

The following video has nothing to do with 9/11, but it does involve students who (some of which) have experienced tragedy, yet illustrate the power of hope for their families, for their community, and for the world.